What does it take to become an enrolled agent?  

Taking a position as an enrolled agent can be a hefty boost to your paycheck and professional outlook long into the future. Not only will you see job security and earn a living wage, but employers everywhere will immediately know your value, putting you above candidates without the EA credential on their resume. You’ll also have a seat at the decision-making table, and clients will appreciate your expertise whenever you provide them the excellent service within your wheelhouse. 

Enrolled agent job description 

Being a great EA is part tax professional, part customer service specialist and part business representative. Your role will shift between consulting with clients, preparing tax forms, reviewing procedures, addressing tax issues and many other financial tasks. At every stage, you will need to be able to navigate not only your client’s expectations and meet their unique needs but also communicate complex topics in simple terms. Even if you work at a larger firm or deal with expert clients at the IRS or state-level financial regulators, you will still need to speak plainly to respect your client’s time and ensure you are getting your point across clearly. 

High-quality EAs are also always up to date on the changing tax landscape. Whether those updates are because of significant legislative changes in bills like the Inflation Reduction Act or thanks to a shift at the local level, you will need to be diligent to keep up with any tax code changes. You also should be comfortable representing your clients directly to the IRS or state regulators, making professional communication skills an essential set of tools to master.  

No matter who you’re working with, know that every day will see you interfacing with at least a few different people with different needs, who will all have a set of expectations about your skills based on your title.  

Workload can depend on your location and level of seniority  

Not all enrolled agent positions work the same way, with some offering better pay but higher workloads and less time off. Others won’t pay as well but will offer more ownership of your work and some additional quality of life features. Part of your job also will depend on your level of seniority. Coming in as an entry-level enrolled agent will see you working more on simpler tax-preparation tasks and other work those with more experience don’t have the time to complete.  

A senior-level EA is more likely to work with clients on their tax strategy and represent individual taxpayers and businesses before the IRS. At the highest level of a tax law practice, you’re likely to work alongside the CEO to optimize operations and ensure crucial the company or its high-profile clients adhere to regulations and meet continuing tax requirements. Such a role is liable to take up more of your time and will likely include days where your work digs into the evenings. 

If you’re working for yourself full time, how much time you dedicate to your business is up to you, though depending on your clients’ needs and the tax services you offer, you might be working longer hours than even EAs at the largest accounting firms. Taking a job at a bank can net you additional holiday time and working at an investment firm offers great pay and quality time benefits.  

Day-to-day responsibilities of an enrolled agent  

Enrolled agents are tax professionals, so expect most of your time to be spent on such matters. Here are some of the responsibilities you can expect to have when you take a job as an EA: 

  • Guide the decisions a company’s management makes regarding their tax obligations 
  • Work with clients to prepare and file tax returns 
  • Explain tax regulation and processes to clients in simple, easy-to-digest terms 
  • Represent clients and businesses before the IRS 
  • Perform audits and appeals for clients when necessary 
  • Recommend tax and financial strategy to your clients to minimize their tax liabilities 
  • Educate clients on changes to the tax code and stay abreast of any updates 
  • Attend over-the-phone hearings with the IRS 

Surgent gives you the tools to help you succeed 

Before taking on the responsibilities of an enrolled agent, you must pass the three-part EA Exam to prove you have the knowledge and expertise necessary to do the work. One of the best ways to prepare for the test is with Surgent EA Review, a full suite of test prep materials tailormade to ensure you’re able to pass the EA Exam with confidence. With Surgent, you get: 

  • A.S.A.P.® Technology: Our AI-powered adaptive learning technology assesses what you know against your weaknesses, so you spend more of your time filling in knowledge gaps and less mastering concepts you already have down. This technology helps prepare you for the EA Exam faster than other exam review providers.  
  • ReadySCORE™: Never guess when you’re ready to take the exam. With ReadySCORE, you’ll see your likely score if you were to sit for the test that day, so you know precisely when your preparation pays off.  
  • Daily Surge: Your time matters, and you should never wonder what to study on a given day. That’s why Daily Surge cards appear every time you log in, suggesting the topics you need to cover to stay on track.   
  • MyMCQ™: Get comfortable with the question format on the EA Exam with Surgent’s customized multiple-choice practice questions. They’ll always push you to learn more challenging concepts with each round and won’t waste your time making you study questions you have already mastered.   
  • Unlimited practice exams: Learn the structure of the EA exam and help relieve test anxiety by taking practice exams as often as you like, all included in every package.  
  • Full access until you pass: All the Surgent EA Review materials, including free content and software updates, are available to you no matter how long it takes you to take and pass the exam, giving you the freedom to learn at your own pace.  
  • 100% pass guarantee: Even if you don’t pass on your first try, Surgent’s pass guarantee means you don’t lose your prep course investment. Take the time you need. We’ll be here for you.  

Once you pass the EA Exam and officially enter the industry, consider using Surgent CPE to make the most of your continuing education requirements. We pride ourselves on being first-to-market with any updates to the tax code, regulations, legislative shifts and other updates you need to know, and your clients expect you to know.  

Becoming an enrolled agent opens doors to many different rewarding career opportunities. You will be able to work in industries across the spectrum for clients large or small, and with a wide variety of responsibilities. EA roles are stable, consistent and always valuable, so your only real limitation is how far you want to go. For help taking the EA Exam necessary to start working, be sure to invest in Surgent EA Review. Start your free trial today.